Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Consider the source

With this being the second week of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) being...ahem...."operational", there continues to be endless stories of the utter futility of the online registration process.

Not surprisingly, the President's staunchest apologists (specifically the mainstream media) continue to beat the bushes for any success story they can find in an effort to stem the tide of negativity. At this point, "success" is a pretty low bar. It seems many media outlets are merely attempting to find someone who registered successfully, whether it be via federal or state exchanges. Heck, affordability may not even be a significant criteria at this stage of the game.

Last week, you could almost feel Sarah Kliff (she of The Washington Post's Wonkblog) wet herself when sharing the story of 21-year old Chad Henderson. Mr. Henderson declared that he was able to obtain affordable healthcare despite his being a college student and a part-time employee. Ah, but I guess Ms. Kliff felt the fact that Henderson being a volunteer for Organizing For Action, a grassroots movement committed to passing President Obama's agenda, wasn't relevant to the story. But the sin of omission regarding Henderson's involvement with OFA seemed rather insignificant when it was later revealed that his testimony was a complete fabrication. Whoopsie!  

Locally, the St. Paul Pioneer Press decided to keep "pumping the pump" in an effort to find a positive testimonial regarding Minnesota's state exchange MNsure. They think they may be on to something

With health insurance policies she's purchased in the past, Robyn Skrebes has been frustrated with flimsy coverage that left her with unexpected out-of-pocket costs.

So she felt confident Monday buying a policy for next year through the website of MNsure, the state's new health insurance exchange.

"You know these things have been vetted," said Skrebes, 32, of Minneapolis. "You're buying a legitimate plan that's actually going to do what it says it's going to do."

To be fair, this PiPress story also features an anecdote of someone who had a significantly less pleasurable experience with the MNsure site. Read the whole article for that particular perspective.

Anyhow, what stood out most about this story was the final couple of paragraphs (emphasis mine).

From her work in the past with a consumer group called TakeAction Minnesota and SEIU Healthcare -- two groups that have been supportive of the Affordable Care Act -- Skrebes said she knew that standardizing benefit options was one goal of the federal health care law.

"The options are laid out in plain English, and in ways that are a lot easier to understand than in the past," Skrebes said. "It worked really well."

Like the WaPo did with the story of an OFA volunteer, the St Paul Pioneer Press located a positive testimonial from someone who could potentially overstate Obamacare's effectiveness (to the credit of the PiPress, however, they at least acknowledged Skrebes's affiliations). I'm not suggesting that Ms. Skrebes is lying about her story. However, she's hardly a neutral party. Given Skrebes' link to progressive groups like SEIU and TakeAction Minnesota, relying on her testimonial could well be the equivalent of relying upon pulltab companies to be impartial about revenue projections from e-pulltab machines. Sheesh, how ridiculous a scenario is that?


No comments: